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Buses on the road have some of the same inherent problems that 18 wheelers do: they are much bigger than the rest of the cars on the road, and especially at high speeds, they can cause devastating accidents. But buses pose an even greater risk. They aren’t transporting cargo; they are transporting people, often children. At Kirkendall Dwyer LLP, whether you were injured while riding in a bus or as a passenger car sharing the road with a bus, we can bring you the expertise and care needed to resolve your bus accident claim.
Driving a bus takes a great deal of focus, especially considering that the inside of a bus can be a distracting place to be. Whether the bus passengers are children or adults, a bus driver is obligated to be trained, qualified, and prepared for the challenges of the road.
But often, they are not. There are many forms a bus driver’s negligence can take: he might be driving too fast in the particular weather conditions, or possibly might be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He might have been using a cell phone, which is banned for bus drivers.
It is important to note that buses fall under the category of “common carriers”, an important distinction for your case. Common carriers are those that are hired by members of the public to transport passengers or goods, and these vehicles are held to a higher standard of care than other vehicles on the road. This means that bus drivers are required to exercise a level of care that a very cautious or prudent person would exercise under similar circumstances. The purpose of this rule is to protect the passengers who entrust their safety to these businesses, and have no way of protecting themselves in the case of an accident. The common carrier rule makes it easier to prove that the bus driver in your bus accident was negligent.
Whatever the details of the case may be, if the bus driver violated this stringent standard of care and acted within the scope of his employment, the driver’s employer can be held responsible for your accident as well. To prove that he was acting within the scope of his employment, it must be shown that he was performing the duties that he was hired to perform. This opens up another avenue for recovery.
Busing companies hold the responsibility of hiring bus drivers that will be able to uphold its duty of the utmost care to its passengers. There are many ways for companies to investigate the histories of their potential drivers, and there are just as many ways that they may fall short in doing so as thoroughly and meticulously as possible. An employer must investigate a potential employee’s driving history from every state in which he has a driving record, and the employer must take particular care to ensure that the bus driver has no history of alcoholism or citations for drinking and driving.
Our attorneys will bring the resources necessary to fully investigate every aspect of your bus accident claim. Even if the bus company performed the proper background checks, we can use medical records, witness interviews, and bank records to find out if there was any reason the bus company should have known that the bus driver would not be able to exercise this level of care.
In most circumstances, the government is immune from lawsuits, but under the Texas Tort Claims Act, a city or municipality can be sued for the actions of an employee that injures others within the scope of his employment, especially if he is operating a motor vehicle. This means that if your child was injured in a school bus accident, or if you were injured in or by a DART bus, you have the option of pursuing a claim against the government.
The Texas Tort Claims Act was designed to help victims in situations like these, but you need someone with comprehensive legal knowledge to help guide you through it. There are limits on the amounts that you can recover for your accident, and time limits in addition to the statute of limitations that you must abide by when filing your claim. One of these time limits is the requirement of filing notice within a certain amount of time (often 30 days, but can vary from locale to locale). If you fail to follow such rules, you will unintentionally forfeit your right to file a claim. Call one of our attorneys today to help ensure you get the recovery you deserve.
As in other car and truck accident cases, it is always possible that there was a defective part in the bus. Whether it was a part that malfunctioned or a part that failed to function, the manufacturer of the part will be liable if the part caused your injury.
Only after a thorough investigation can such liability be determined. The amount of evidence and the expert witnesses required to establish liability would be complex in this situation, and you need an experienced attorney in order to succeed in such a claim.
Our attorneys are here to give you the individual attention that your case needs and deserves. Bus accidents are multi-faceted and need dedicated resources and legal knowledge. Our team will investigate every possible avenue of recovery to make sure that your compensation is complete. Let our team handle your case. The sooner you contact Kirkendall Dwyer LLP, the better able we will be to help you.